Thursday, May 30, 2002

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OHA offers a home loan
program to Hawaiians

The new program will help
up to 600 families buy homes

By Leila Fujimori

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is offering a new loan program that allows Hawaiians buy homes with no money down.

"Too many Hawaiians are without homes in their own homeland," said OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona. "Through this program, we intend to make inroads toward changing that."

OHA announced yesterday that funds totaling $135 million are available to help up to 600 families obtain 100 percent financing for their homes through lender Fannie Mae, a national private mortgage company.

Fannie Mae also will provide an additional second mortgage loan for up to 3 percent of a home's value to cover or help minimize closing costs. OHA will guarantee the second mortgages.

"Even though it may not address the need of every Hawaiian, it will serve Hawaiians who qualify," said Apoliona.

To qualify, borrowers must attest to having Hawaiian ancestry in an affidavit, forms of which are available at OHA. The home cannot be on Hawaiian Home Lands and must be a primary residence in Hawaii. Applicants also must meet credit or income qualifications.

The program covers financing a home loan up to $451,050. However, if the price of the house exceeds the limit, borrowers could still qualify for the program if they can put a deposit down for the balance of the purchase price, said Douglas McWilliam, Fannie Mae account manager.

First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii will administer and service the loans. The banks will provide counseling services funded by OHA on homeownership for those who qualify.

Those interested in applying for a loan and for information on workshops may call Bank of Hawaii toll-free at 888-828-7996 or First Hawaiian Bank at 866-342-6420.

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